Sunday, August 31, 2008

Dangerous Liaisons

Dir: Stephen Frears, 1988 (9.9*)
A scathing examination of psychological manipulation and emotional torture among jaded French aristocrats. Glenn Close is the master of cruelty, and former lover John Malkovich her witting instigator, Valmont. Close relishes, and seems to trive on orchestrating seductions, using Valmont, and delights in both keeping him at bay and destroying the innocence of others, notably the betrothed young Uma Thurman and moralistic preacher's wife Michelle Pfeiffer, in her best role, garnering an Oscar-nomination for supporting actress.

From a 1670 French play, not dated at all; in fact, so modern that it was remade (without bite) as Valmont, and updated to modern times as the uninteresting Cruel Intentions with Sarah Michelle Gellar, with an equally unmemorable cast, especially vs. Liaisons. Truely unforgettable, this is as good as psychological studies get in films. Close’s best film performance by far, to me (though she is letter perfect in every performance, and now has an Emmy for Damages), and also John Malkovich's.

Seven Oscar® nominations, winner of three: screenplay, art direction, costume design (Lost best picture to the infinitely inferior and forgettable Rain Man, which I don't think is good enough to include here as "1000 to see". Close lost to Jodie Foster in The Accused, not nearly as complex or as subtle a performance; I think the Academy just felt sorry for her being stalked by a maniac)
Awards page at IMDB


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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